(L-R): Gabby Newton, Jess Vukic and Libby Birch. Pictures: AFL Photos

OVER recent months every club has welcomed new faces into the fold.  

Some are already established players who have switched allegiances, while others are just starting their AFLW careers. How they fit the puzzle of their new side will be established over the months of preseason, but at first glance, which recruit is the one to watch at your club? 

Brooke Boileau (Adelaide) 

Drafted with pick No.22 in December's draft, Brooke Boileau is a handy midfielder who can also press forward to hit the scoreboard. At the Crows she will help to establish the next rung of inside midfielders in support of star pair Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff. Breaking into the side may take a little time for Boileau, but once overcoming that hurdle her value will be clear. 

Brooke Boileau runs with the ball during South Australia's clash against Vic Metro in the 2023 national championships on July 9, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Shanae Davison (Brisbane) 

Traded in from West Coast after 18 games, Shanae Davison has crossed the country to join reigning premier Brisbane. Initially drafted as a forward, last season she proved her ability to be used in other roles. Davison attacks the air with strength and confidence, and suits the Lions' profile of classy players who can rotate between the midfield/wing and attack. 


Lila Keck (Carlton) 

Exciting small forward Lila Keck adds something to Carlton's attack that it has lacked in recent years. Taken with pick No.7 in the draft, Keck is quick and boasts strong goalsense, which will be ideal at the feet of the likes of Mia Austin and Moody sisters Breann and Celine, while also taking some pressure off Darcy Vescio to carry the load on the deck. 


Georgia Clark (Collingwood) 

Tasmanian Georgia Clark is an important part of Collingwood establishing a damaging forward line over the long term. Her ability to read the ball and take a contested mark is backed up by her set shot kicking, and alongside Nell Morris-Dalton and Eleri Morris, will help to stretch opposition defences. 

Georgia Clark handballs during the U18 National Championships between the Allies and Vic Metro at Brighton Homes Arena on July 2, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Maddison Gay (Essendon) 

After 54 games across Carlton and Melbourne, including a premiership at the latter, Maddison Gay brings a combination of skill and leadership to Essendon as it heads into its third AFLW season. Her versatility is a huge asset, but ideally she will start in defence to add a calm head behind play and clean ball use on the rebound. 


Gabrielle Newton (Fremantle) 

Former No.1 draft pick Gab Newton will reunite with Lisa Webb this year, after Webb left her post as an assistant at the Western Bulldogs to take up the head coaching role at Fremantle last year. With 36 games to her name, and a proven ability to impact both in the midfield and forward line, Newton's strength, and willingness to apply defensive pressure will serve the Dockers well in the front half. 


Bryde O'Rourke (Geelong) 

Bryde O'Rourke was a father-daughter selection that emerged late in draft calculations when it was discovered her father Ray had played two games for Geelong in 1969, but it was to the Cats' great benefit. A big-bodied midfielder, O'Rourke has a knack for executing skill under pressure. Last year the Cats indicated that the next phase of their development was to increase their midfield depth, and O'Rourke will be a key part of that. 

Bryde O'Rourke in action during an AFL National Champs match on August 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Katie Lynch (Gold Coast) 

With Lauren Ahrens now a Bulldog, the addition of Katie Lynch, a 23-year-old All Australian defender, signals a new era of Gold Coast's defence. Alongside Charlotte Wilson, Lynch will help to sure up the Suns' backline alongside interceptor Vivien Saad and talented small Daisy D'Arcy. After struggling with injury in 2023, a fresh start up north may be exactly what both Lynch and Gold Coast need. 

Katie Lynch in action during round five, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Kaitlyn Srhoj (Greater Western Sydney) 

West Australian Kaitlyn Srhoj, drafted to the Giants with pick No.3 in the draft, is a classy mover who can be exactly the player to elevate the club's fortunes. Her running capacity on the wing, combined with some neat skills, will be an ideal link between tough midfielders like Alyce Parker and Bec Beeson, into forwards like Georgia Garnett and Isabel Huntington. 

Kaitlyn Srhoj is presented her jumper by Greater Western Sydney coach Cam Bernasconi during the AFLW Draft on December 18, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Jess Vukic (Hawthorn) 

At the Hawks, Bridie Hipwell is in need of another tall forward option to support her, as does Lucy Wales in the ruck. Conveniently, Jess Vukic is the answer to both concerns. Standing at 179cm, she is a physical ruck/forward option who has the potential to become a key member across both lines this year. 

Jess Vukic at Waverley Park after being signed by Hawthorn in the expansion pre-signing period. Picture: Hawthorn FC

Alyssia Pisano (Melbourne) 

Melbourne's attack was impressive last season, but in recent years the club has lacked a genuine small forward presence. Generally the Demons have relied on tall options with mid-sized forwards or midfielders becoming that ground level coverage, but with Pisano now in the ranks, her forward craft and crumbing ability can elevate the side's attack. 


Libby Birch (North Melbourne) 

As the only player in AFLW history to win a premiership with two different clubs, and 77 games to her name, Libby Birch joins the best defence in the competition this year. With pillars Jasmine Ferguson and Sarah Wright holding strong deep, and Emma Kearney working to rebound as a higher option, Birch can be the aerial intercepting layer between the two. 


Shineah Goody (Port Adelaide) 

Already boasting a stack of accolades before even stepping foot on an AFLW field, Shineah Goody is a hard-working teenager with professional standards. Covering the ground impressively and deceptively tough, she will help to balance out Port Adelaide's midfield and create a formidable partnership with Abbey Dowrick.  

Shineah Goody of South Australia in action during the National Championships U18 Girls match between Western Australia and South Australia at Pentanet Stadium on April 30, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Montana McKinnon (Richmond) 

Gabby Seymour has done an impressive job holding down Richmond's key ruck role in recent seasons, but the recruitment of Montana McKinnon allows the Tigers a chance to mix up the midfield group. McKinnon is more of a physical, pure ruck, while Seymour's athleticism can now be used across other lines – potentially in defence should Eilish Sheerin be released into the middle. 

Montana McKinnon in action during Adelaide's preliminary final against North Melbourne on November 26, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Paige Trudgeon (St Kilda) 

After 21 games at Carlton, Paige Trudgeon appears to be exactly what the Saints need in defence. The club has needed someone reliable in that tall, lockdown post deep in the backline, an area that was exposed last year with injuries to Bec Ott and Beth Pinchin limiting their availability. The surety of Trudgeon will allow more freedom for players like Bianca Jakobsson and Hannah Priest higher in defence. 

Paige Trudgeon is tackled by Elisabeth Georgostathis during Carlton's clash against the Western Bulldogs in round 10, S7, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Lara Hausegger (Sydney) 

Lucy McEvoy's addition to Sydney's backline in 2023 was masterful, bringing composure and good decision making on the rebound, but the club no doubt wants more flexibility in how they use her. This is where Hausegger comes in, with the teenager known for her composure and maturity behind the play. 

Lara Hausegger in action during the Coates Talent League Girls testing day at Narrandjeri Stadium on March 5, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Annabel Johnson (West Coast) 

West Coast conceded an average of 53 points last season despite the efforts of Charlie Thomas, Sophie McDonald, and Belinda Smith. Smith's best asset is her running rebound, while the former pair are well placed closer to goal. For this reason, former Cat Johnson will solidify the backline as that higher intercepting defender between the two. 

Annabel Johnson handballs during round four, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Elaine Grigg (Western Bulldogs) 

Amidst a mountain of change at the Bulldogs, Elaine Grigg's recruitment is certainly a bright spot. Her hardness at both the ball and opposition is greatly complemented by her smooth moves and skill. Grigg will be key to the Dogs' ability to retain the ball inside 50 and put pressure on opposition defences.